Gold Coast [Australia], April 4 (ANI): Rio Olympic silver-medallist PV Sindhu led the Indian contingent out for the Parade of Nations as the 21st Commonwealth Games officially gets underway in a spectacular fashion with a glittering opening ceremony in Gold Coast, Australia on Wednesday.

The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games took place in a packed Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, the host city for the Commonwealth Games.

Cheered on by a stadium audience of over 35,000, the ceremony welcomed and introduced the 4,600 Commonwealth athletes ready to stake their claim on the global sporting stage.

As part of a segment looking back on the epic journey of the Queen’s Baton Relay, the Queen’s Baton entered the stadium for its final moments – brought in to the stadium by multiple Commonwealth gold medallist swimmer Susie O’Neill before Athlete Sally Pearson AOM presented the baton to HRH Prince of Wales, who read aloud the message from Her Majesty The Queen contained within the baton to officially declare the opening of the Games.

The ceremony drew strongly on Aboriginal, Indigenous and First Nations cultures – symbolic of the Games’ overarching commitment to reconciliation and inclusivity through sport.

The ceremony told a universal story – with staging inspired by the landscape, elements and iconography of the region.

The Parade of Nations track was a specially commissioned artwork drawing on indigenous and local culture and mythology, featuring stars, surfboards, sea animals and shells.

Building on the surprise addition of Scottie Dogs to the Athletes’ Parade in Glasgow 2014, Gold Coast 2018’s 71 nations and territories were walked out by “nippers” – an Aussie institution, which sees young people learn all about teamwork, respect and sea and surf awareness and safety.They walked out the athletes with their parent or guardian, carrying a surfboard bearing the country name.

This time, India have sent a strong 220 contingents for the multi-nation event, which will run till April 15.

Flag-bearer Sindhu is one of the favourites to pick a gold medal in the prestigious event after being seeded number one in the women’s singles badminton event.

Besides Sindhu, London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and other badminton players will kick off their campaign with the badminton team event against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

The Indian contingent also includes two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, and London Olympic bronze medallists Mary Kom and Gagan Narang.

More than 4,500 athletes from 71 nations and territories will be vying for 275 gold medals at the multi-sport event.

Moreover, for the first time ever, there will be the same number of men’s and women’s medal events at the Games.(ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.